Russell Wilson Refutes Report He Wanted Pete Carroll Fired in Seattle
There have been things said about Russell Wilson and his personality in the past. None of them come close to the power play that he allegedly tried to see in Seattle before being traded.
In a collaborative story by Mike Sando, Kalyn Kahler, and Jayson Jenks at The Athletic, they shared a report from a source in Seattle regarding Wilson’s last-ditch efforts to get his way in Seattle.
“Convinced that [Pete] Carroll and [John] Schneider were inhibiting his quest to win additional Super Bowls and individual awards, Wilson asked Seahawks ownership to fire both of them, according to league sources who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details. Wilson also had a preferred replacement in mind: Sean Payton, who had recently stepped down from the New Orleans Saints.
“That request set in motion a wild 13 months kicked off by Wilson’s stunning trade to Denver and a first season with the Broncos so calamitous the team fired new head coach Nathaniel Hackett after just 15 games.”
After years of clashing with Pete Carroll in Seattle over the direction of the offense and the team, Russell Wilson went after head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider’s jobs.
Of course, Wilson refuted the claims on Twitter this morning. Instead, Wilson called Carroll “a father figure” and said he never wanted anyone fired.
Wilson went as far as to have legal representation contact The Athletic over the claim:
“A lawyer for Wilson wrote a letter to The Athletic characterizing the assertion that Wilson called for Carroll’s and Schneider’s firing as “entirely fabricated.” The Seahawks declined to comment for this story. Hackett and Broncos GM George Paton declined to comment through representatives.”
The story at The Athletic dives much deeper than that, though. The central focus is on his first season in Denver. There’s no denying that Wilson’s first season in Denver was an unmitigated disaster. But how much was Wilson to blame?
After signing a new $245 million contract with Denver, Wilson had a few more requests for GM George Paton. First, Wilson wanted to hire his own support staff and have them be inside the Broncos building. Then, Wilson requested his office within the Broncos facility as if that wasn’t enough. Paton and the Broncos signed off on the requests with the blessing of rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
“He’s got a whiteboard, the sides of the wall, and it’s just littered with (motivational) quotes and new play concepts,” receiver Kendall Hinton told The Athletic. “It was crazy to see his mind thrown out on the (wall).”
The accommodation that Wilson requested (and received) seem pretty off the wall. The belief is that inexperience in the Broncos’ front office and coaching staff was why Wilson gained those privileges. And let’s be honest, if Wilson’s on-field play had matched his off-field weirdness; no one would have batted an eye.
Instead, Wilson and the Broncos were a disaster.
One anonymous coach told The Athletic that Wilson would present plays to Hackett for him to include in the Broncos’ offense. Wilson essentially had play-call design powers last season.
“He had too much influence,” one coach said. “And it was mainly based on what Hackett allowed him to influence.”
With Hackett falling on the sword for the Broncos’ disastrous 2022 season, Sean Payton is in charge in Denver now. Payton, a veteran head coach, will not fall victim to the same gullibility that Hackett did. Things will be different in Denver this season, at least in the locker room.
In his first appearance as Denver’s head coach, Payton told reporters that Heaps and other Wilson staffers would no longer be working from inside the facility.
“We’re not going to do that here,” he said.
It seems like the party is over for Wilson in Denver. Still, the claims of Wilson trying to flex his muscles in Seattle to the extent that he asked for a head coach and GM to be fired is wild. Wilson didn’t get what he wanted in Seattle and found it in Denver temporarily. However, things will be much different with Sean Payton in charge.
You can check out the full story from The Athletic here: